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2010 Tour of Flanders

by Adam Tranter

Entries for the 2010 Ronde van Vlanderen (Tour of Flanders) has just opened. 

At just €20 plus €5 for your tag (refundable) its a bargain. The shuttle from Ninove (very early start) is also only €15. Some led lights are advisable as it will be dark when you make your way to the shuttle by bike. The bikes are well packed on a lorry and wrapped in blankets to avoid damage. There is a cabin at the start for your excess gear which will be transported to the finish.

Compared to the Etape this event is an absolute steal value wise. It is easy to get to from the UK and it most certainly is a challenge! Ride a real race route and find out just how good the pros really are.

There will always be plenty of riders to follow. There are thousands taking part in each of the 6 events for "cyclotourists" and mountain bikers. The first half of the ride can be very fast. The second half won't!!

The roads are NOT closed but they are very safe and well marshalled. Plenty of police at junctions. The ride is not timed except on your own bike computer or GPS. The control points are at the feed stations where you will have your control card punched to prove you have completed the full course.

The feed stops are well stocked although the food is a bit on the sickly sweet European side. I would advise to carry plenty of energy bars and gels. There is loads of Isostar to take on as fluid though.

The route is well signposted and in any case just follow everyone else, there are no lack of wheels to follow.

Also, be prepared for bad weather. In 2008 and it POURED for 3 hours solid. The pros even got some sleet the following day! Fit new brake blocks. I wore my down to the metal shoes and my blocks were almost new.

Don't ride on 700 x 23 tyres. I already have my 700c x 25 tyres in preparation. The cobbles may not be Roubaix rough but are still a challenge in themselves.

There is very cheap camping available in Ninove but be prepared for the church bells that ring on the hour EVERY hour!

Stay on for the pro event on the Sunday and enjoy beer and frites.

Get the miles in 'cos it is one hell of a distance and the second half is very hard.

Click here for the event details, which includes accomodation details, click on the "Enter Tab" to take you staight over to the online registration system!